Intermediate DIY Project : Install Wire Shelving
In this DIY project, I’ll take you through the steps to install ventilated wire shelving as I did for the purpose of craft storage as opposed to a closet space. Typically closet spaces use a slider track- you know, the long metal tracks on the wall that you hook metal angle brackets into, and can adjust shelves up and down. I did what’s considered a permanent installation, so no slider tracks in this post.
If you ever find second-hand wire shelving-get it…unless it’s too bowed. In that case, leave it! I lucked out getting three wire shelves (28.5”L x 12”D) for free along with a bag of random pieces I had to make sense of. I knew right away they would be perfect for my craft room storage I just had to figure out how to piece it all together properly.
The great news is that ClosetMaid® is still around making the same good ole ventilated wire shelving, so you can still find the replacement pieces, brackets, and clips for installation here. You can even download a PDF Instruction Guide, but if those make your brain hurt like they do mine you’re in the right place. You get to learn from my mistakes, and photos make everything easier to understand, right!?!
Oh, the tools and supply list is included for you at the end of this post!
Please note this post contains affiliate links which means if you decide to make a purchase through one of those links I will make a small commission.
Gathering The Pieces
My husband and I visited our local major hardware store’s closet organization section. They had a large display of the various shelving options, and a handy brochure which helped us to visually see how we wanted the shelves set-up, and what we needed to get to install wire shelving.
We only needed to purchase Angle Brackets to mount under the shelves, and attach to the wall. We purchased the 12” Support Brace which is for use with the 12” Shelving. Your Support Brace(Angle Bracket) size will depend on the size of your shelf…12”deep shelf=12”Support Brace.
In the little bag of odds n ends I had discovered the End Caps (rubber caps for straight ends of wires), and Retaining Clips (holds shelf to wall) with nails and such-that was all we needed!
To Re-Purpose Parts or Not To Re-Purpose Parts?
Each parts bag will show you the tools needed, and what’s included. The Angle Brackets I purchased came with the one screw and drywall anchor. If you have too many missing pieces from trying to re-purpose old shelf sets, it may be easier to purchase new parts instead of trying to figure out the right size nails and screws. Don’t make this DIY too hard on yourself!
Let’s Get Started!
Optional: You may want to cut some of your shelving to join through a corner and continue around a room or simply to have a smaller shelf. For that, you can use a hacksaw.
Decide on your desired shelf height, and make a light mark on the wall the full length of the wire shelf. This is your guideline.
*Tool Tip: Sometimes you may have a wall that isn’t level or is heavily textured. You may prefer to use a Bubble Stick which has flex to it, so it can lay along the wall. As a kid, I remember my Dad always had one of these and I thought it was the coolest thing…it’s a long ruler with levels built-into the center sections. So nifty!
As you’re holding the shelf on the wall figure out a balanced spacing for the Retaining Clips based on your weight requirements according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and mark each spot. The wire shelf will snap down into the clip, so you cannot have it placed with a perpendicular wire in the way. If it ends-up being wrong you’ll have to slide the shelf to the side which may affect the placement on the other clips, and your design of the shelves on the wall.
Retaining Clips are designed to go into drywall, and not a stud. Use your stud finder to locate the studs, so you don’t hit them. Adjust your clip placements as needed along your guideline.
Drill a hole where you want the retaining clips placed. Then insert the clips in the hole, and then hammer in the nail.
*Note: Retaining Clips have a ¼” difference between the hole and shelf placement. Since I had measured where I wanted the shelf I then measured a ¼” above each mark for each hole. Double check your shelves will be level and are lined-up properly by simply holding them up to the wall. My shelves were a little bowed, so I had to make some adjustments to level them out.
Oops! As you can see we goofed by hitting a stud further back in the wall, and had to pull the clip out and move it over. I didn’t bother filling the hole, because the shelf hides it.
After the Retaining Clips are installed, and the shelf is snapped into place you’ll need to leave the shelf hooked, and hanging while moving-on to the next step.
First, decide on spacing for your Angle Brackets. You want proper support, but you may decide you prefer a symmetrical look with two brackets on one shelf or spaced out to have three brackets on a shelf or three across two shelves. The manufacturer recommends one bracket every 36”, and/or at the end of each shelf.
Optional: You may opt to drill into studs if your storage needs require it. In that case, you won’t need the drywall anchors, and you’ll need to locate the studs.
The Incorrect Way to Install Brackets
DO NOT make this mistake….Oops! Again! We put the anchor in the wall without the bracket in place.
Troubleshooting Tip: To remove a drywall anchor, you need to use something strong yet thin to hook into it and pull it out. Sometimes a pair of pliers will do the trick. Do not just hammer it further into the wall. That makes for a nightmare repair by creating more work for yourself.
The Correct Way
With the Angle Bracket in place under the shelf and against the wall (check to make sure it’s level), drill the hole, and then place the drywall anchor and then screw in place securing the bracket.
Once you have your shelves in place, stand back and enjoy your handy work! Then gather everything to go on the shelves, and organize away! I’m still working on that part, but it’s functional, and got things off the floor!
I still need to get the pieces to join the two wire shelves together, so for now I zip tied them to keep them at the same height-one kept falling slightly.
Afterthoughts…little things, and long things fall through the shelves. I think a DIY wood shelf covering will be the next step!
PS Do you see that drill sitting on my table? Hubby says this can stay in the craft room! So excited I have my own drill now!
Required Tools for this Project: